Short Stories

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Exit Ghost

Exit Ghost

Exit Ghost, by Philip Gooden. It’s not the best part I’ve ever played or the biggest but it’s the one that had the greatest effect on my audience. In fact I’ve never seen an audience reaction like it. Very pleasing, in one way. Very unpleasing in another. Every time I...

Nightmare in Clapham

Nightmare in Clapham

To Clapham in the 1960s, when mental illness was treated very differently.

Our affair ended when eventually I tired of Jim’s reluctance to say that he loved me.  I fell victim instead, if victim is the right word, to something I now know is called the ‘proximity effect’.  Proximity in this case was an engineering student on the second floor...

The Prisoner

The Prisoner

A short story that led to the Earls of Mercia series

I’m the last of my family, and as I sit here, bounded by four unyielding walls, it grows daily less and less likely that I’ll ever continue my family line. We, who rose from little, and achieved so much, will die out here, in a prison of my king’s making. I know that...

A Meeting of Equals

A Meeting of Equals

The short story that gave M.J.Porter the characters of Coelwulf and Pybba from her novel, The Last King.

I’m used to dealing with warriors. I’m not sure what to make of the man before me. I’ve heard a great deal about King Alfred. It seems much of it is true. I confess I’m disappointed. I came here to find an ally in arms, prepared to assist me in beating back the...

The Christmas Murders

The Christmas Murders

London, Christmas in 1892, and Detective Inspector George Bowman investigates bloody murder.

December, 1892 A hard overnight rain had frozen hard as iron on the roads and paths. This Christmas Eve, the whole of London seemed an ice rink. Detective Inspector George Bowman gazed through the window of the two-horse brougham he had hailed on Finchley Road. The...

Exiles

Exiles

The poet eases his tongue into her mouth. He probes. She lets him. He pulls back, and she can see his eyes, watery and squid-ink dark. She closes hers, and presses her lips together into a thin line. 'How strange,' she hears him say. 'How strange you are.' He puts his...

A Palpable Hit: A Master of Defence Story

A Palpable Hit: A Master of Defence Story

A story of espionage and dashing swordplay from Peter Tonkin.

‘A hit!’ The referee’s judgement echoes round the room as the ringing clash of the rapier blades dies. Tom Musgrave disengages and steps back along the fencing piste, out of the wide measure called larga misura where his opponent’s rapier could still reach him with a...

It’s Everybody’s Fight

It’s Everybody’s Fight

F Scott Fitzgerald's alcoholic screenwriter returns, in a new story by Richard Foreman.

   Pat Hobby shook his head in sadness at the news on the radio. The world was at war. His next whisky would be a double. France had fallen. Great Britain was standing alone. Hitler and his Nazi thugs controlled Europe. Pat spared a thought for Jakob Lowenstein, a...

Lantern and Light

Lantern and Light

Murder mystery from Steven Veerapen during the reign of Henry VIII.

Another young life lost. Simon Danforth pictured the boy’s body, lying bloodless and cold on the wooden bench of the coroner’s office. Harry Alwin had been a few years younger than his own twenty-two. Even now, as he looked into Mr Richard Alwin’s face, he pictured...